Fake News? Or No News?

The media landscape has always been cluttered. As long as newspapers have been in print, organizations have done everything they can to make message stand out from the crowd.

It’s no secret that newspapers and traditional media outlets have struggled to maintain circulation and produce the good-quality news consumers rely on. Even strong publications, like the Seattle Times, continue to look for innovative ways to make ends meet. But staff reductions, like those we heard about this month, are often unavoidable.

On the other hand, so-called fake news sites are earning millions of views as its content is quickly shared across social media. When 62 percent of people get their news on sites like Twitter and Facebook, organizations amplifying their stories receive more competition for audience’s attention. What’s more, according to Buzzfeed:

“Over the course of the 10 months leading up to the election, the top 20 fake news articles being shared on Facebook skyrocketed from 3 million ‘shares, reactions, and comments’ to nearly 9 million, while mainstream media articles declined from 12 million shares, reactions, and comments in February to just 7.3 million by Election Day.”

Currently, one social media firm is starting to take steps to limit the spread of fake news.

So on one side, there are local and regional media outlets with fewer resources and reporters with broadening beats. They can’t always cover your news or do the in-depth reporting that your news deserves. On the other hand, a growing cacophony of news sites (fake or otherwise) is getting in front of the same audiences you want to reach across multiple channels.

The upshot of all this is there is less bandwidth for your brand’s message, and more competition for your audiences’ attention.

The good news is the options for telling your own story, in your own words, on a platform controlled and amplified by you are growing. Here are a few:

Reporting your own news on your blog and stories page.

It’s a bit old school but it still works. Companies like Microsoft and Legacy Health invest heavily in finding and telling stories on their owned channels. Such stories are amplified through direct pitches to reporters and on social media. A 2013 survey of journalists cited that nearly 60 percent of reporters used social media to find story ideas. As newsrooms continue to shrink, companies should look to maximize owned channels to tell more in-depth stories with rich media (photos, videos and infographics).

Connect with your audience and build subscribers on Medium.

No, it’s not just for tech companies anymore. Medium has quickly gained popularity with politicians, nonprofits and a variety of brands. This reader-focused tool lets you share your story, gain subscribers and interact with audiences who care about your subject matter. It’s easy to get started, you just need a Facebook account.

Develop a leadership platform on LinkedIn.

With over 300 million members, LinkedIn is a great way to build a platform for executives, your brand and to develop a talent pipeline. LinkedIn hosts countless industry and issue groups your company and executives can participate in and publish to. Care about intellectual property issues? There’s a group for that. Check out the Nature Conservancy or Bill Gates’ page for an example of how to maximize this tool to grow your influence.

Target your audience with paid syndication across news sites.

Companies like Outbrain and Taboola help brands leverage their earned, owned and social media efforts into cohesive paid content marketing campaigns. Syndicated content, like placements you see at the base of news articles, can be an excellent option for amplifying your stories and point of view.